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Sethi back in the saddle as Nawaz shows Zaka the door

11 February, 2014

KARACHI: Exercising his powers as Pakistan Cricket Board's patron, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sacked the head of the cricket board, Zaka Ashraf, and dissolved its governing board.

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"There are serious issues in the management of PCB, repugnant to the aim and object of the PCB and that there is an immediate and emergent need to take necessary measures to improve the management of the PCB, as well as to streamline the game of cricket at all levels in Pakistan," read the notification issued by the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC).

Subsequently, an eight-member management committee (MC) comprising former interim chairman Najam Sethi was formed to run the PCB. The strength of the committee can be exceeded up to 11 members.

The management committee as per notification "shall not remain in force for a period of one hundred and twenty days [4 months] unless extended by the patron."

Ashraf and his governing body, reinstated by the Islamabad High Court, lasted less than a month as the patron just needed an amendment in paragraph 41 of board's constitution to overhaul the governing body's hierarchy.

The amendment makes it possible for the patron to supersede the PCB if he feels the board is not run properly.

Sethi elected as chairman

Within hours of the new committee's formation, Sethi was 'elected' as its chairman, who will also act as the PCB chairman – as per the notification. The panel will hold its first meeting on February 11 (today).

Apart from Sethi, the new committee includes former PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, former captain Zaheer Abbas, Punjab Chief Secretary Naveed Akram Cheema, former PCB governing board members Shakeel Sheikh and Yousaf Naseem Khokha, former Test cricketer Iqbal Qasim and IPC secretary Ijaz Chaudhry.

'Big Three' issue

Once back in the saddle, Sethi promised to bring about stability in Pakistan cricket. "We have been given a few agendas. The utmost is forming a new PCB constitution, which will be more transparent, democratic and will elect a chairman than nominate him.

"The second is the recent tragedy [Big Three, ICC reform]. We have been isolated because of mishandling of this issue," Sethi said.

He said Pakistan now stood nowhere in the international cricket and his target was to help Pakistan retain its place, adding that it was a difficult task but he was hopeful of achieving success.

Clarifying the MC's status, he said the notification was not an ad hoc arrangement.  "It is not an ad hoc arrangement neither it's interim. The set-up can last for over four months but it will be my priority to form a new constitution as soon as possible."

He said decisions regarding the PCB management made by Ashraf will be assessed in the MC meeting and a correct decision under him will be endorsed.

Ashraf fears isolation

Ashraf expressed dejection at his ouster, calling it an undemocratic way to remove an elected chairman. He said the government's intervention was against the International Cricket Council's constitution and could land Pakistan in trouble.

"It's a sensitive time and the countries, especially India, which we opposed in the 'Big Three' episode may exploit and isolate Pakistan," he said, insisting that he ran cricket affairs sincerely and did what is best for Pakistan cricket.

End.